After months of the usual teasers and hype from Microsoft, Windows 11 has officially arrived. Microsoft’s latest operating system has relocated the Start menu and taskbar, added features lifted from gaming consoles, packed in more widgets and given Android users the ability to run apps on their PC.
Windows 11 is a free upgrade, but your PC must meet system requirements and run Windows 10. Tap or click here for instructions on downloading and installing Windows 10.
Not everyone is being presented with the option to upgrade immediately. It depends on a few factors, so you may have to wait for your turn in line. If you want to test drive Windows 11 now, however, you may be able to.
Here’s the backstory
Your PC needs to meet at least the following system requirements:
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
- 4GB of RAM
- 64 GB or larger storage device
- UEFI, Secure Boot capable system firmware
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- Graphics card compatible with DirectX 12
- High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per color channel
You can go digging into your system specs, but there’s an easier way. You can download the PC Health Check App to determine your PC’s compatibility.
Go to microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-11 and scroll down to the Check for compatibility box. Click Download PC Health Check App and run the app. Click Check Now to scan your system and get the results.
Are you next in line?
Windows 11 will be available for newer eligible devices first, while others may get it between now and mid-2022. Your hardware and PC’s age factor into this. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC, you’ll get a notification of when it’s eligible for the upgrade.
You can manually check if your PC is eligible by going to Windows Update in your Settings.
For those who can’t wait
Windows 10 users can download Windows 11 on Microsoft’s download page at microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows11. Microsoft notes, “If you are upgrading from Windows 10, we recommend that you wait until you are notified through Windows Update that the upgrade is ready for your PC.”
If you want to try Windows 11 now, first back up your PC. Go through your essential files and folders and copy them to an external drive or cloud backup service. We recommend our sponsor, IDrive.
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Once you’re backed up and are sure your PC can handle the upgrade, you have some options to get Windows 11.
Windows 11 Installation Assistant
If you have a Windows 10 PC and want to upgrade the easy way, use the Windows 11 Installation Assistant. Make sure you have at least 9GB of free disk space.
- Go to the Windows 11 software download page and click Download Now under the Windows 11 Installation Assistant section.
- Select Run, then Accpet and Install and follow the onscreen instructions.
- Your PC may restart a few times during the process.
Create Windows 11 Installation Media
If you want to install or reinstall Windows 11 on a new or used PC, you can create a bootable USB or DVD using the Create Windows 11 Installation Media method.
Make sure you have a license to install Windows 11 or a Windows 10 PC that qualifies for an upgrade. You’ll also need sufficient storage space on the computer and installation media.
- Go to the Windows 11 software download page and click Download Now under the Create Windows 11 Installation Media section.
- Run the media creation tool, then click Accept, then Create installation media for another PC, then Next.
- Select USB flash drive or ISO file to create the installation media.
- Insert the USB flash or DVD into the PC where you want to install Windows 11.
- Restart your PC and follow the onscreen instructions.